www vs. non-www, http vs. https

www vs. non-www

Nowadays, when you are assigning your website address, you can choose between www vs. non-www. For those of you who don’t know, the “www” stands for World Wide Web and it used to be the norm that all websites had the “www” prefix at the front of their website address. 

Recently, there has been a trend to drop the “www” from the front of domain names. Why is this? As website addresses have evolved, the “www” has become extraneous. We are accustomed to going on the Internet daily and assume that we are accessing the World Wide Web. 

Also – that’s 3 less letters we need to type! To me, this is a huge time saver. Especially when I’m using the Internet on my cell phone, those 3 extra letters are not missed at all by my huge Fred Flintstone fingers. 

I predict that websites will continue the trend to drop the “www” one by one until there are none left using it. 

http vs. https

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and HTTPS adds a Secure at the end of the phrase. HTTPS websites are protected by an SSL Certificate – a certificate that encrypts information on your website so that it can’t be easily stolen. 

Up until a couple years ago, only e-commerce websites used the HTTPS protocol to protect their shoppers’ personal information. Back in the day, websites were mostly designed in HTML code and didn’t contain passwords or had any information that needed protecting (beyond basic intellectual property protection). 

Fast forward to 2014 and security on the Internet is becoming a problem. Many sites are created using content management systems like WordPress, but the majority of them were not secured with an SSL Certificate. 

Google stepped in. Google announced to the industry that it would be rewarding sites that installed SSL Certificates and moved to HTTPS, and would be lowering the rankings of websites that continued to use HTTP. 

The Cost Impact

There is a potential cost to purchasing an SSL Certificate and this varies by web host. Some web hosts decided to capitalize on this new required expenditure and started charging (in my opinion) outrageous yearly fees to register and install SSL Certificates. Another organization called Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL Certificates and many web hosts support this initiative. 

Just be aware this is a question you will need to ask BEFORE signing up with a web host. 

Where does this leave us?

In my opinion, new websites should be created without the “www” on the front of domain names, and secured with an HTTPS. 

https://example.com 

When printing your marketing materials, you can actually leave off the “https” and just put: 

example.com (or .ca or .org, etc.)

The general public is used to reading domain names and can recognize them on sight, without needing an explanation or instructions.

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Allison Kessler
Allison Kessler has been web designing professionally since 2002. She guides you through the website design process and helps you keep your website updated and secure. She lives in Calgary Canada with her adorable toddler and is usually found outside hiking and enjoying the Rocky Mountains.

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